Gena Cadman, General Manager
Ruth’s Chris Minneapolis
Treating restaurant guests like friends in your home is a part of Gena Cadman’s upbringing. Gena grew up on a farm in Wisconsin where her father was a veterinarian and the family enjoyed big Sunday dinners after church. It was there Gena learned the importance of waiting on everyone to arrive to begin a special meal.
Throughout her childhood, her maternal Grandmother Hazel, would hold her arms wide open and announce “there she is!” whenever Gena entered the room. This simple act always made Gena feel acknowledged and loved beyond measure.
As the General Manager of Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Minneapolis since 2004, Gena now works to ensure her guests “feel good about being here” –something she picked up early in her managerial training. When Gena began working for Ruth’s, she did not have fine dining experience and was nervous that she might be in over her head.
The company flew her to Irvine, CA to begin her seven-week training where she was immediately greeted by General Manager Rich Rojko from the kitchen with literal open arms – as if to channel Grandma Hazel. From that moment, Gena always felt like she belonged. She quickly picked up on two things about the company: how happy everyone was to be there and how proud they were to be a part of something Ruth Fertel, the founder of Ruth’s Chris Steak House, started.
The momentum continued to build. Gena picked up on how this attitude of happiness and pride for the brand was a common thread with everyone she met on the Ruth’s Chris team. It reached to those who worked inside and outside of the restaurant walls. Throughout the years, Gena has invited friends from her past to join her in working at Ruth’s Chris. These friends have turned into valued teammates, many of whom have been working well into double-digit years of their own tenure.
In short, it is the culture that has kept Gena committed to Ruth’s Chris for the last 17 years. “It is how we take care of people, you can tell people really matter and what we are doing is important,” stated Cadman. “You really can’t go anywhere better to work.”
Her caretaking goes beyond the restaurant as Gena quietly spearheaded a program with Ruth’s Chris to provide monthly meals and conversation, served with fine-dining level attention, to 50 men experiencing homelessness at a neighboring shelter. A program that ran for eight years!
Ever the animal lover since her father’s veterinary career, Gena and her Ruth’s Chris Minneapolis location have also worked closely with the K9 Foundation and Mounted Police Unit to help fund two dog officers, Blaze and Thor, and provide supplies for the local animal units in their community.
Gena loves her work the most on the nights “when everything is memorable”. We know those memorable nights have occurred countless times over Gena’s last 17 years at the Minneapolis location. On a daily basis, Gena opens the restaurant doors and her arms to deliver the warm welcome she grew up with (and the one she received during her training) to her team, guests and members of the surrounding community. We know why Grandma Hazel always beamed and proclaimed, “There she is!”